Alumni News

Alumni Day 2014 Draws 33 Alums!

Over thirty alumni returned to campus for Alumni Day 2014 on Dec. 18. Every class (from 2010 to 2014) was well-represented, and everyone was able to catch up with classmates over a pizza lunch, volleyball game in the Barn, and a barbecue dinner. Alums also spent time sharing experiences with current upper schoolers and 8th graders, as well as answering questions from parents and students at a panel discussion after dinner. As one alum said, "I feel so lucky to be a part of such a unique community. The fact that alums continue to come back and enjoy returning is a testament to how special of a place Woodlawn is.”

on 21 September 2014.

Zach Lingle '12 Digs Crete

Zach Lingle '12 is currently a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in chemistry with a minor in archeology. He spent most of the summer of 2014 far away from the Carolinas - at an archeological dig on the island of Crete with one of his professors and a group of about 75 students.

Zach and his classmates spent 8 weeks working on the Azoria Project, an excavation of an Early Iron Age and Archaic site (ca. 1200-500 B.C.) on Crete. The goals of the project are to document the form of an early Greek city, with a view to understanding the sociopolitical and economic structure, and processes of urbanization.

"I was on the trucks up to the site by 6:30 every morning and was done around 2:30," said Zach. "Most of my time at the dig was spent with a pickaxe or sweeping the trench to make it look good for photos. After the dig and on the weekends I got to spend time at the beach, hiking, playing soccer with the workmen, or traveling around Crete. In my trench we found a couple almost complete Lekanis (ancient Greek pottery bowl), but the find of the season was a whole bronze dagger from one of the other trenches."

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting up with his parents on Crete for his mom's birthday! Zach was happy to stay at their hotel and have a hot shower. (The “dorm” where he was staying had only solar-powered hot water which ran out pretty fast.)

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on 23 June 2014.

Kathleen Elkins '10 Blazes New Trail

It seems like just yesterday when a small-framed, shy, freckle-faced girl named Kathleen Elkins showed up on Woodlawn's campus. That was in the early days of Woodlawn, two thousand and three to be exact. The school was in just its second year, and Kathleen was in the sixth grade. It wasn't long before she began to make a name for herself here at Woodlawn and beyond. A nationally ranked tennis player (then and now), you could also find Kathleen in true Trailblazer form on the cross-country trails and eventually on the track (she still holds the girls cross country 5k school record). She excelled in both athletics and academics, graduating from Woodlawn with summa cum laude honors in 2010. It was a significant moment in the history of Woodlawn—she and Chad Raines (St. Johns, '14) would forever be remembered as the two who blazed the trail for all future Woodlawn grads. “I had an incredible experience as a middle schooler, and I could not imagine going to school anywhere else for the next four years — I thrived in the small classroom environment where creativity and curiosity were encouraged,” explains Kathleen on her choice to stay through high school. “Looking back (and I did not realize this at the time), Woodlawn truly shaped me into who I am today — much of my personality and who I grew to be can be credited to Woodlawn.”

"When I tell my friends in college that I graduated with one other person, they get all excited and say things like 'No Way!' and 'Is it a homeschool?' and I explain to them that, no, it's not a homeschool and it sits on something like 60 acres and all, and then they grab their phones and start to google Woodlawn to make sure I am not kidding," jokes Kathleen. "It's a great conversation starter for sure.”

Fast forward four years later to present day, and you'll now find her still a small-framed nationally ranked tennis star, but with a sort of confidence and excitement that comes with the type of recognition she's earned. A 2014 graduate of Williams College with quite a few accolades to her name, she still is mostly smiles and laughs, and she's filled with happy anticipation of what's yet to come, just like she was way back when she left Woodlawn in 2010. "I grew up in Davidson and I went to a small liberal arts school in Williamstown," says Kathleen. "Now I am moving to Boston! I'll be living in a city with tons of things to do." Kathleen has signed on with Tenacity, a nonprofit that works with inner city youth. A one-year stint called "Coach Across America" involves working in the classroom and the tennis court with middle and high school kids. "It's really a perfect fit for me," says Kathleen. "I will get coaching certified in the process of this one-year program which is really cool."

on 07 April 2014.

Sophia Spach: Photog, student, gospel singer, world traveler

A mile-wide smile spreads across her face as soon as she’s asked about her study abroad. It’s something Sophia Spach, class of 2011, knows a bit about. Her sophomore year took her on a whirlwind back-to-back, semester-to-semester adventure, circling the globe from India to Costa Rica in the span of nine months. As she talks at 90 miles per hour about exciting cultural differences, the ancient sights she visited, and the exotic food she sampled, one recurring theme keeps coming up: People!  It’s clear Sophia enjoys the people most of all. Her enthusiastic voice and smiling face seem like the perfect combination while she describes, as she says, “living and learning in communities of people so different from me.”

Traveling to India and Costa Rica not only confirmed her love for people, but it also gave her deep perspective on her own life in the United States. “I traveled to India during winter term with the intention of studying Religion Caste and Gender in Contemporary South India,” says Sophia. “I loved everything about it! The people, the colors, the spices, the food! And it was really interesting to see the levels of wealth—basically rich people and extreme poverty surrounding those upper classes.”

on 21 February 2014.

Where in the World is TPW?

Tucked away in Central Europe, eating a spicy beef stew you’ll find Woodlawn’s own Terin Patel-Wilson ’11, now a junior at Yale University, doing a study abroad program in Budapest, Hungary. “We eat a lot of meat and potatoes,” laughs Terin. “I like meat, so it sort of works out for me!”

It’s a seemingly obscure place to land for study abroad but as Terin explains, “Budapest is sort of the hub for science and math. They have this theory that if you can do well in math and science, you will do well in life. And so they’ve put a major focus on that in Eastern Europe.”

A computer science major at Yale, Terin says he first developed his love of math/science at Woodlawn. “A lot of kids hate math in high school,” says Terin. “But some of my fondest memories involve the crazy projects we did in math.” Like the MacGyver movie, no doubt, which still makes a regular showing in Dr. Stutzman’s classes today. “Yeah, that isn’t going to be shown here is it?” laughs Terin. “I don't want people basing their entire opinion of me on that one movie.”

Terin made the transition from math to computer science early while at Yale - his first comp sci course sealed the deal. “I was always interested in computers,” says Terin. “It’s funny because while we didn’t actually have a formal computer science class at Woodlawn, nearly everything we did had some technology piece tied to it. We became very tech savvy at a very early age and it has always piqued my interest. I mean, if you look at just my graduating class, there are three of us (out of 13) majoring in computer science: Darius, Sawyer, and myself. That’s pretty impressive.”

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Alumni Day 2013